Why Is The Good Life?

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As the old adage states, “Everything comes at a price”, a price which in Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, the titular character along with Sophocles’s Ismene become well aquatinted with. There comes a moment when one must decide if the endgame out weights the proverbial price. As Siddhartha soon discovers, Enlightenment-his good life-requires much sacrifice whether it be in the tangible form of food and luxuries or the emotional cost of leaving home. Ismene, in Antigone faces a dilemma when her headstrong sister bade her to help bury their brother which would lead to the forfeiture of their lives. Although the good life seems to imply a sense of ease and pleasantry, nothing worth having comes freely which is why achieving the good life may come at the cost of sacrifices, in which some such as Siddhartha are willing to pay, whereas the sacrifice, in Ismene’s case, can lead to devastating consequences, negating the “good” out of life. In order to achieve the good life, Siddhartha had to make many physical and emotional sacrifices to reach his ultimate goal of Enlightenment. On a physical level, Siddhartha acknowledged that physical denial will lead him closer to his goal. He followed the Samana’s ascetic ways; he would fast for twenty-eight days, wore minimal dirty clothing, and endured the biting cold. (Loc. 318)By subjecting his own body to the limits of human capability, he sought to escape the self, and at time came very close to it. Siddhartha was wiling to exchange physical
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